Sharp, nursing union to meet Friday

Posted at 11:55 AM, Nov 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-24 15:06:24-05
SAN DIEGO -- Sharp Healthcare and nursing union representatives will meet Friday over the union's counterproposal in advance of a planned three- day strike, according to a Sharp spokesman.
Sharp announced Thursday that the Sharp Professional Nurses Network and United Nurses Associations of California have proposed that they will not go on strike if Sharp requires all new nurses to pay union dues, and fire all those who do not.
"They want us to agree to a closed shop, but we're not going to," said Sharp spokesman John Cihomsky.
UNAC could not be reached for comment. Nurses at Sharp Healthcare facilities in San Diego County recently announced plans to go on a three-day strike Monday, returning to work on Dec. 1.
Dan Gross, Sharp executive vice president, said his organization "was extremely disappointed that the union took this position after months of telling Sharp, the media and the community that these negotiations were all about wages and turnover."
According to a company news release, Sharp remains "committed to individual choice for its nurses when it comes to paying dues."
The union delivered a required 10-day notice to the hospital chain's management a week after 98 percent of around 2,200 Sharp nurses in the region who cast ballots voted to reject the company's final offer.
Sharp officials said they have contracted with a firm to provide trained nurses during any walkout. Sharp previously offered to hike base pay by 16 to 26 percent over a three-year period, with nearly half implemented in the first year, according to management.
The union contends low pay has caused a high employee turnover rate at Sharp.
"The crazy thing is they even admitted to a roomful of nurses in negotiations on October 14 that they have a turnover problem," Christina Magnusen, president of the Sharp Professional Nurses Network, said on Nov. 17.
According to Sharp, a report from the California Hospital Association found that the chain's 2015 full- and part-time nursing turnover rate was 8.4 percent, the lowest in San Diego County -- and that this year's numbers were about the same.